At the end of 2014, I will leave the InterFace AG in my role as active board member. My family has the majority of shares at InterFace AG. In order to guarantee continuity and stability, this should not change.
That is one reason why I wish to accompany the InterFace AG as a member of the supervisory board for some time. Here is my current analysis.
The InterFace AG is in a transformation phase. There are several reasons for this:
- Currently, the enterprise is growing immensely.
Naturally, two million Euros more turnover in one year also mean more employees, customers and partners. It looks like we will also grow in 2014. This means more contracts, more customer service, more responsibility for turnover, more administration and organization. Growth generally costs energy and money and means change.
- The enterprise turns regional.
Our regions Darmstadt, Nürnberg, Stuttgart and Rhein.Ruhr are fairly successful. Each of them develops its own culture and individual collective construct. We are now starting to open the door in other regions. The regionalisation also has an effect on the structural and procedural organization (structures and processes)..
- The market changes.
For several years, we established our service model for government agencies, (big) enterprises and IT providers.
These three market sectors currently undergo huge change.
The bidding process in government agencies gets more and more rigid for all parties concerned. On the whole, it is certainly not an advantage for medium-sized companies. Biddding concerns change their attitude towards their providers. More often than not, reducing costs will have priority over delivering quality. IT budgets dwindle, the specialized sectors get more and more relevant. It seems like “business administration” and “legal service” get more and more dominant – just like in society. Our traditional partners are the classic IT providers. New players, like Google or Amazon get more and more ever-present on the IT markets. I look forward to witnessing which providers will deliver IT technology and services in the future..
It seems clear that we have to acquire more and more new customers. Medium-sized companies and the IT suppliers of the future might become interesting material for the InterFace..
- More and more IT services become commodity.
It is hard or impossible to earn money with services that have turned commodities. Three years from now, we will probably earn a huge majority of our turnover with totally new services and products. This means that much has to be courageously tried and prudently developed..
- The business mode and rules of the game change.
It seems that the times of “Body / Expert leasing” slowly come to an end – also due to social and legislative changes. As alternatives, there might come service models, assembly sections or a “true” counselling service..
- The founder leaves the enterprise.
🙂 And to top it all in this situation, the founder ups and leaves the enterprise….
Mind you, the future is always unpredictable. But it is easy to see that the InterFace AG (like perhaps our society and many other enterprises, as well) are currently in a phase of strong transformation. Consequently, I see my next task in accompanying the firm as this takes place.
My personal observations of what happened in other firms show that this kind of change might not be totally unproblematic. Some enterprises I personally know quite well actually failed or at least suffered considerable damage when trying to do a positive transition in this kind of situation. But I also know a few firms that successfully coped with a similar scenario.
In life, you have to accept that you need to learn. Consequently, I believe there is a lot to be learned from these other enterprises and that experiences of others are helpful. The most important insight I won from observing these kinds of processes is trivial:
Everything will always depend on the people involved.
An enterprise is a social system which must not be allowed to acquire a life of its own. Instead, it must understand and consider the needs of the people concerned. It has to support humans in their development and make them bigger, rather than smaller.
Humans are prone to anxieties and will often develop fear, be it justified or unnecessary. This is how detrimental constructs can quickly get lives of their own and cause all kinds of misunderstanding and frustration. That is when the positive things, too, will easily be forgotten. Shared experiences and goals that should be important for all can easily become minor trivialities.
In my future role, I would like to counteract all unnecessary fears and mind games. And I want to use my role on the supervisory board to integrate all the colleagues in the enterprise, in the “extended management” and on the board of directors. I also see myself as a link between the employees, the works committee, the enterprise and the supervisory board.
We at InterFace must continue to develop our shared understanding and feeling. What do we want and where are we headed together? A living and practiced consensus is half of the way towards a successful future of the enterprise and its employees. Because it is and must remain our main goal to survive on a high level, even in hard times and to remain true to ourselves.
This is where I would like to say “Thank You” to all my fellow workers and companions on the way!
(Translated by EG)